Sunderland star nearing new contract

Aiden McGeady looks set to extend his stay at Sunderland, with an agreement on a new deal thought to be close.

The winger proved a talismanic figure after being reintegrated into the first-team fold by Lee Johnson, finishing with the most assists in the division despite making his first appearance in December.

The 35-year-old further underlined his commitment to the club's attempts to win promotion back to the Championship by waiving a clause that would have triggered an automatic extension had he started the second leg of the play-off semi final against Lincoln City.

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Conscious of the need for long-term sustainability, Sunderland were reluctant to do that but talks over a fresh arrangement have been positive.

While not concluded, The Echo understands that at this stage all parties are hopeful of reaching an agreement.

McGeady's affection for the club and the area is well known, best seen in his decision not to pursue a move away last summer even when his first-team prospects under Phil Parkinson looked bleak.

Johnson, meanwhile, has formed a strong relationship with the winger and has made absolutely clear his desire to keep him at the club.

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On the eve of that second leg, Johnson said: "For me on the football side of it, I would love to keep Aiden McGeady next season because I think he is a fantastic player and we get on extremely well.

"But it's between him and the sporting director.

“All I can do is be really genuine and honest and sound with the player, deliver the information that’s given to me and prove to him that I want him to be an important part of our plans moving forward.”

McGeady was one of four players offered a new deal at the end of the season.

Sources have long suspected that the failure to win promotion to the Championship would lead to Charlie Wyke's departure, after his 31-goal campaign attracted significant interest.

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The forward is known to have Championship suitors, as well as interest from Celtic and fellow League One promotion rivals Ipswich Town.

Of the quartet whose deals expire at the end of this month, his future is by some distance the most uncertain and at this stage he is expected to depart.

Luke O'Nien is still weighing up his future, as he is also believed to have attracted interest from the Championship.

Denver Hume suffered a hamstring injury in the play-off semi finals against Lincoln City but Sunderland believe the full back has a bright future and are eager to secure his future.

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Speaking before that play-off campaign, Jounson said: "I think what he hasn't got me and my staff can coach.

“I think what he has got is difficult to coach. Denver Hume, for me, is quite an exciting project as like - as long as his attitude is good, he stays fit and we work with him on the training ground.

“There's various parts to his game that when I was assessing the Sunderland squad and looking at areas, he's one that I thought 'okay, we can definitely raise the value of'."